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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Sharpness

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]Way-hay!!! It's Friday morning. The sun is shining, and I'm off to the Portishead Docks rally at lunchtime today. Agenda is as follows.

    12:30 Pick Bev up from work
    13:00 Take her to Asda in Cardiff Bay 'cos she wants even more clothes to take!!
    13:45 Start boat engine
    14:00 Lock out of the Barrage
    14:02 Open first can of Strongbow
    18:00 Get to Portishead
    18:05 onwards - Party 'til we drop.

    Can't wait. See you all there. We're bringing our little dog. I hope it's OK to do that.

    Mike [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Sharpness

    [ QUOTE ]
    Its 20 to lock in and 20 to lock out You have to buy a licence from british waterways in glos but they wont let you out the lock at sharpness if you dont have the licence so get before you go
    Last time I was there they were asking if I had a bss for the boat so be aware of that
    Pm if you need more info i give you a bell

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I have now been informed by BW South West that short-term visitor licences are available, but only in advance.

    Whilst a BSS certificate or a RCD Declaration of Conformity that is 4 years or less can be used to support your short-term licence, equally you can gain such a licence using a self-declaration form. You can find out more on this

    Requirements for the BSS can be found on of our website

    Rob@BSS Office
    Go boating - Stay safe

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Default Re: Sharpness

    Thanks for the advise guys. re the BSS I thought that a boat coming in from the sea was exempt for a short visit or has this changed now?

    40 locking fees plus a canal license OK if going up for a week or more but would make it expensive for a weekend.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Sharpness

    Yeah, BW are having a crack down on licence / BSS abusers at the moment - which is good cos there are loads of problems with people not paying at the moment.

    BTW Sorry about not going to docks rally but tide time sucked for me this weekend. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Portishead Docks Rally

    Well, what an eventful weekend. I've been looking forward to the rally for ages and the start for us all went wrong, thanks to some bad seamanship by me.

    We set off on Friday at 16:00. Bad start! We should have left at 13:00 to get the flood tide up the Bristol Channel, but no. Smart Boy here (that's me) decides to take Bev for a drink at lunchtime and she in turn wants to call at Asda's for yet another item of definitely-not-needed clothing. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] Consequently, we're late leaving which means the tide turned against us half way along our journey. I've been in similar positions before and you'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now. So that meant that by 19:00 when we should have been in the marina, we were only half way there. Still, it was a warm evening, we had lots to eat on board and even more beer, so we settled down for a slow slog up channel. I contacted the marina at Portishead and they said that we could lock in with them as late as 22:15.

    Later that evening, the VHF crackled into life asking for a response from any vessel near Portishead. I answered the Coastguard back and they said that they had received a 999 call to a yacht in distress near Portishead. I told them that we didn't know of another boat in the area, as there was only us out as far as we could see. They told us to "stand by", so we maintained a listening watch on Ch 16 and 67. Nearby, we could see the Portishead Lifeboat Station and Bev spotted activity on the slipway. I got the binoculars and could see their lifeboat being pushed into the sea by their tractor. I said to Bev that it would be interesting to see where they were heading, because I didn't remember seeing anyone behind us. The boat launched, then turned and headed directly at us! I couldn't believe it. Someone had reported us as a yacht in distress. We couldn't have been less distressed. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] "Are you OK?" they shouted when they came alongside. I'm standing at the tiller looking cooler than The Fonz with my shades, sun hat and beer can. That said, I was horrified to think that they had launched for us. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] My only emergency was that the beer cans were beginning to lose the chill they'd had at the begining of the day!

    These good men left us and continued on their wild goose chase looking for a casualty that wasn't. They came back to us after about 45 minutes and I grovelled apologies for their wasted time, effort and money. The three lifeboat crew were brilliant and it's my first brush with the waterborne emergency services in the eight years or so that I've been sailing. I cringed inside as my day job is as a Firefighter and has been for nearly 30 years. I've lost count of the number false alarms I've been to and to think that I was party to one now was sickening. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

    When we eventually reached Portishead, we realised that it's now past 23:00 and there's no way we can lock in as there wasn't enough water beneath the boat. We'd just have to anchor up and wait for the tide. Bev wasn't too pleased with this prospect, as we should have been in the thick of the action in the marquees, knocking back vast quantities of Thatchers. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] Still, we were stuck out there, so we dropped anchor near to the Kings Roads. I let the anchor go and could feel the anchor chain grumbling and grinding. I realised that the anchor wasn't biting into the ground and should have recovered it there and then. We were clearly dragging our anchor and at risk of being set upon the shore. I asked Bev to give me a running commentry on the readings of the echo sounder, when the anchor bit - hard!! Beverley graciously allowed me my thermo neuclear swearing fit that followed. (It's always made worse when you've got no one to blame but yourself.)

    I told the marina office who advised that I should let Bristol VTS know. This was all starting to go wrong, but I was too tired to blush. At least we weren't going anywhere, so we set the alarm on the mobile phone for 01:30 and rested, but still dressed ready to respond on deck if necessary.

    At 01:30, the alarm went and as Bev carried on snoozing, I went into the cockpit to watch the tide turn. Moments later we were facing the other way and the tide was now on flood instead of ebb. Bev came out of the cabin and we started the engine. With the boat facing the opposite way, we could drive it over the spot where the anchor was, and hopefully yank it out in the reverse way in which it went in. We did this with no problem and I was really relieved to get the anchor back. There still wasn't enough tide to get in, so we re-positioned the boat over where I knew there was soft mud. The anchor would hold well, and we could recover it easily.

    We went back to the cabin and put the kettle on. By now it's 02:00, and by the time we'd eaten our doughnuts and hot chocolate drinks, it was 03:00. The marina office said there was loads of water to come in over, so it was engine on and with Bev steering us towards the anchor chain, I was at the front pulling hard on the chain to get the anchor back for the last time that night / morning!! By 03:30, we were tide up on the pontoon. We shut down the engine and lights, made up the double in the main cabin, got into bed and was asleep in less than a minute.

    Next morning we woke at 09:00 and the bingeing began. Damo came over to say hello and it was great to put a face to the name. We met so many lovely people while we were at the rally. We ate like Kings, drank like fishes, and partied like Charlotte Church!! I even won a raffle prize!! We had a saunter around Portishead, browsed the chandlers (but didn't buy which is a first for me), and talked and chattered with people we've never met before, but who now feel like old friends.

    A big, big, big congratulations to the organisers. You've made our first rally memorable. Can we do it all again next weekend please? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Take care all,


    PS. A big, big thank you to Damo for helping me out in our panic to get out of the lock and head off home. You're a star mate, and Bev and I owe you a pint or three. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Default Re: Portishead Docks Rally

    Sounds like you had a steep learninmg curve followed by a great weekend [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img].

    We missed it unfortunately due to work commitments.

    In the past i have anchored in soft mud just to port of the marina entrance channel on the way in. You are out of the tide there and if you ground at LW its very soft mud.Anchoring in King Road puts you in a lot of tide and is a bit precarious for being run into. bristol VTS know about commercial traffic in and out but maybe unaware of fishing boats or pleasure craft that dont all report in.

    I also had the pleasure of meeting Damo up there a few weeks back.By coincidence he was the first person I bumped into on the pontoon.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Re: Portishead Docks Rally

    Thank you very much for the kind words [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

    I was on duty for nearly 40 hours over the 3 days, and had a few pints in the marquee as well, so I slept in pretty well on Monday morning! It was hard but enjoyable work, helped by the fantastic weather.

    From our point of view it ran very smoothly, so I hope our 60-odd visiting boats felt the same. A lot of that was due to the fantastic organisation by the PCC, and the understanding of the visitors, who were very amenable during the lock rush hours and when asked to cram themselves into every last nook and cranny in the marina!

    Maybe we should all fly the Forumite burgee to make it easier to find each other next time [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
    Never be at a loose end with the [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    <span style="color:red">New!...</span>Warrior/Challenger/Voyager owner's website at

  8. #28

    Default Re: portishead docks rally


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